Sunday, 29 January 2012

Duxford - a "testing" session

Much colder overnight and a weather forecast that suggests it might snow here on Monday and be sub-zero most nights until the end of the following week. So not good for fishing. But a thought does occur to me. There are some techniques that I would like to be better at, so given the low chance of actually catching fish today, I could have a testing session and try out all the things I think I'm not good enough at.

The first surprise though was that the river was actually up a few inches after the bit of rain we have had and had a bit of colour in it. Of course there might not be any barbel in Duxford Loop, now I have read the article in Course Angling Today. But if they are, today might actually be a day they might be feeding. I couldn't find my themometer though but it might have been above the "magic" 41F level

So today's trip to Duxford involved, initially, baiting with a bait dropper, something that I rarely do as the Seer Specialist Rover rod that I often use is not up to casting a dropper. But I am currently using a John Wilson stepped up Avon rod and that seemed happy enough casting the dropper. Five swims got 4-5 droppers of hemp, meat and a few crab boilies

Next, I wanted to use some larger weights and get used to what was required to hold, say, two-thirds of the way across the river. There was a perfect "crease" swim to try this in, as well as two swims where far-bank rushes cause a sharp slow down in flow behind them. Just over 1oz was enough in each case. However, some people do use much higher than this in some rivers. I had a go with 2 x 1.5oz and was able to hold just under the far bank.

Thirdly, I was fishing a hair rig all day, adopting the superglue approach to baiting with either meat or boilies cuts in half. Never done that before, but actually it was little trouble at all.

Next, I wanted to do some upstream ledgering, where the weight is tightly balanced against a deflected quiver tip and bits are signalled by the line slackening and the tip falling back. The art of balancing seemed ok and I was able to bump a bait slowly down a run from downstream.

Then there was some practicing of using the self timer on my camera. This is aimed at me taking pictures of my glorious catches. I took one or test test snaps, but these revealed that I do need to look at focusing.

Late afternoon, after quite a nice afternoon, it started to hail. Quite big bits as well - maybe 2-3mm across, enough to sting when they hit my hands or face. This continued for half an hour and I huddled under a tree where I was fishing. I always think hail is really bad for fishing. Would it not penetrate the water a little way and might it even hit a fish out in shallow, open water? So after the hail stopped, it was down to a raft swim where the fish might have been a bit protected. A switch of bait to lobworm did actually produce a couple of sharp knocks on the tip, but nothing developed. Could these have been perch? I would really like to catch a big perch from a river.

But as I expected, this was the limit to today's bites. I did have a close look at some other swims, which was good. Perhaps the next time I go for a "test" session, I should do some plumping?
The only decent self-timer photo from today

The moment when the light changes, just before sunset (after the hail!)

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